Multimedia Systems

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 23–41 | Cite as

Implementing digital game-based learning in schools: augmented learning environment of ‘Europe 2045’

Regular Paper

Abstract

It is widely agreed that the traditional process of schooling can benefit from the usage of computers as supportive tools. Of various approaches using computers in education over the last decade, e-learning and edutainment have become the most prominent. Recently, a number of authors have criticised these approaches arguing that they conserve traditional ‘drill and practice’ behaviouristic methods of teaching instead of enhancing and augmenting them. It has been proposed that a ‘paradigm shift’ is needed and that this shift may come through utilizing all the advantages of full-fledged video games, so-called digital game-based learning (DGBL). However, several case studies reported serious problems with the DGBL. Among the most notable issues are the lack of acceptance of games as an educational tool, problems with integration of games into formal schooling environments, and the so-called transfer problem, which is the problem of the inherent tension between game play and learning objectives, the tension that mitigates the ability of students to transfer knowledge gained in the video game to the real-world context. Here, we present a framework for an augmented learning environment (ALE), which verbalises one way of how these problems can be challenged. The ALE framework has been constructed based on our experience with the educational game, Europe 2045, which we developed and which has been implemented in a number of secondary schools in the Czech Republic during 2008. The key feature of this game is that it combines principles of on-line multi-player computer games with social, role-playing games. The evaluation which we present in this paper indicates the successful integration of the game and its acceptance by teachers and students. The ALE framework isolates key principles of the game contributing to this success, abstracts them into theoretical entities we call action-based spaces and causal and grounding links, and condenses them in a coherent methodological structure, which paves the way for further exploitation of the DGBL by educational game researchers and designers.

Keywords

Digital game-based learning Educational games Serious games Formal schooling Europe 2045 Augmented learning environment Transfer problem 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Mathematics-PhysicsCharles University in PraguePrague 1Czech Republic
  2. 2.Faculty of Philosophy and ArtsCharles University in PraguePrague 5Czech Republic
  3. 3.Faculty of PedagogyCharles University in PraguePrague 1Czech Republic

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